One of Samoa’s premium fashion houses, MENA, is closing its Apia retail store at the end of the month.
But it’s not all sad news. The closure comes amidst some exciting changes ahead with MENA and Samoa’s retail sector.
It’s a decision that the business owners say was not an easy one but they want to reassure their many loyal customers in Samoa that MENA will still be available at the Eveni Carruthers store.
The Savalalo location was their first store from which they launched their MENA label 16 years ago.
It holds many great memories for the owners.
Jackie Loheni, who relocated to MENA’s Auckland headquarters last year, is reflective about the decision,
“Our Apia store has been such a big part of my life since its inception. We’ve held numerous events in-store that were always a lot of fun for us and our customers,” she said.
“Many of our customers became loyal friends of the business and of course I’m going to miss our wonderful staff who have come and gone over the years. It’s been an amazing, journey to look back on but I’m also looking forward to what’s ahead for us.”
Jackie oversees the production and will be marketing the brand at fashion events later this year including the Pacific Runway in Sydney.
Charlene Loheni, who looks after finance and works alongside Jackie in the production, was only a young student at St. Mary’s College when she started helping out in the home business after school.
“It’s a bit sad but I have so many great memories from our early years when we were still a home based business,” she said.
“We’ve experience highs and lows and have just always just forged ahead no matter what challenges came our way. What’s helped with this decision is that we will still have a presence in Samoa via Eveni Carruthers."
“Like us they are a family run business who really care about delivering great service. They came on as a stockist for MENA last year and I have no doubt that they will continue to provide great care and service for our customers that they currently do. In addition to Eveni Carruthers, MENA are also now stocked in American Samoa at Tuifa’asisina Korina Seiuli Lee’s store Measina Samoa Creations.”
Gina Loheni, who looks after the IT, and e-commerce side of the business, says that whilst it was a difficult decision, it had to happen.
“With the growth in the wholesale and online sales channels, the move to reduce physical stores overheads makes economic sense for the business. We can consolidate more of our business operations which allows us to focus on these key areas of growth,” she said.
Agnes Loheni, who looks after Marketing and Sales, acknowledges that Samoa is at the heart of the business.
”Samoa is where MENA all started – it provided the inspiration, the motivation and determination. All that colourful life we had in Samoa is ingrained in our label so no matter where we are, Samoa is at the heart of what we do and what we produce.”
The Apia outlet will be closed on 30 May 2018.